Spicy & Fried Calamari Recipe

Calamari Fry
Image credits: topntp26 via Freepik

Calamari Fry

If you love entertaining family and friends at home, you likely want to come up with delicious appetizers that everyone will enjoy. Calamari is an ideal appetizer if your guests love seafood and enjoy savory snacks with a satisfying crunch. The best calamari recipe is one that features a crispy outside and tender calamari. Whether you’ve got a special occasion coming up or you want to make family dinner more interesting, here are some tips for making the best calamari fry.

What is Calamari?

Calamari fry and squid fry are very similar, since these two forms of seafood are closely related. Calamari is usually easy to find and is affordable compared to other types of seafood like lobster and crabs. You can find calamari in the seafood section of the grocery store or in the frozen section. Calamari is usually sold in rings, but you can purchase the whole squid with tentacles and bodies. Some people prefer calamari rings only and some prefer the tentacles, so the best calamari recipe for you will depend on what parts of the squid you and your guests enjoy.

Cleaning the Squid

If you’re using the whole squid to make calamari, you should cut and clean the squid to prepare them for frying. Rinse the squid under cool water and pull the tentacles from the body. Cut the head from the tentacles and throw away. Separate the beak from the tentacles and clean the innards of the squid. Remove the clear quill and check to see if there is a membrane on the outside of the squid. Remove the membrane if there is one and cut off the fins on both sides of the body. Now you’re ready to slice the body of the squid into rings. You can also use the tentacles for frying.

How to Make Fried Calamari

Before you fry your calamari, you should marinate it in buttermilk. While the squid is marinating, mix the flour and seasoning together to create a crunchy coating for the calamari. Place the calamari in the seasoned flour then transfer the squid to the hot cooking oil. Allow the squid to develop a golden brown crust, then remove the calamari from the oil. Drain and serve right away with your favorite dipping sauce.

How to Make Calamari Tender

For many calamari recipes, buttermilk is used to make the squid tender. The buttermilk also enhances the flavor of the calamari and helps the flour coating to stick to the squid. You can use a combination of lemon juice and regular milk if you don’t have buttermilk or don’t prefer the taste of buttermilk.

How to Perfectly Fry Calamari

To make sure your oil stays at the right temperature, use a frying thermometer. The calamari can burn if the oil is to hot. If your oil is not hot enough, the calamari will absorb too much oil and have a greasy texture. It’s important to cut the squid in rings that are similar in size so the calamari will cook at the same rate.

It’s best to serve fried calamari immediately after cooking. You can store the calamari and reheat it in the oven, but the squid will likely be rubbery if you bake it for too long.

Fried calamari is often served with cocktail sauce, but squid also tastes great with lemon aioli or marinara sauce.

Variations of Fried Calamari

You can add a variety of spices to the flour to customize the taste of the calamari. Here are a few examples:

  • Fritto Misto. This requires an extra crispy coating. You should double the amount of seasoned flour you use for this recipe. You can also use the batter for shrimp, mushrooms, or fennel wedges.
  • Crunchy Calamari. If you want a crunchy coating, add breadcrumbs or cornmeal to the flor mixture.
  • Seasonings. A mixture of paprika, pepper, salt, and garlic powder can adequately season the squid. However, you can use onion powder for a more savory flavor, Italian seasoning if your main dish is Italian-inspired, cayenne pepper if you prefer spicy calamari, or Old Bay seasoning for Cajun-style calamari.

Once you make fried calamari at home, you won’t ever need to order this appetizer at a restaurant again! Not only are calamari a visually appealing appetizer, but it’s easy to make and is sure to impress your guests at your next get-together.

FAQ

Can I pan fry calamari instead of deep fry?

Yes you can follow a calamari recipe that requires pan-frying instead of deep frying. It’s important to keep the oil at a high temperature to maintain the consistency of the calamari and give it a golden brown color.

Is calamari and squid same?

Although they are closely associated, squid and calamari are two different things. Squid is tougher and cheaper while calamari is more expensive and has a tender consistency.

How many calories are there in calamari?

If you want to prepare a fried squid recipe but you’re trying to watch your caloric intake, you’ll be digesting 149 calories for every three ounce serving. One serving of a fried calamari ring is 120 calories.

What goes best with calamari fry?

Calamari fry is usually served as an appetizer and not as a side dish. The dish goes great with fresh lemon wedges and herbs or with a slaw or side salad.

How do you tenderize calamari before frying?

To tenderize the main ingredient for your fried calamari recipe, soak the squid in lemon juice or kiwi juice for about half an hour before frying. The acidity breaks down the texture of the calamari and makes it more tender.